Opinion: Medicine and Social Justice: Free tuition in medical school is only one step toward producing the doctors America needs

The New York University School of Medicine made headlines earlier this month when it announced that it would offer free tuition to all current and future students. The University says its hope is for students to have the freedom to choose lower-paying specialities, such as those in primary care and family medicine, while lessening the financial burden that accompanies a medical education. The announcement was widely praised by many, but will this actually result in more medical students choosing primary care, and where will these primary care doctors practice? Josh Freeman, author of Medicine and Social Justice, explores this topic in a recent blog post (to read the full article, please click HERE). One line from this post seems especially relevant to Southwest Virginia:

“Thus, students from upper-middle and upper income, primarily white (and Asian) suburbs are most likely to practice in those settings – which are precisely those least in need of more doctors. Students from rural or low-income or minority communities are much more likely to practice in such communities, and these are the places most in need of more doctors.”

According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, far Southwest Virginia is currently experiencing a shortage of primary care doctors. Free tuition at elite medical schools like NYU may spur more students to choose primary care, but it remains to be seen if this will have an impact on access to primary care doctors in rural and medically underserved areas, such as far Southwest Virginia.

Symposium on Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery in Appalachia


What: Symposium on Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery in Appalachia

When: October 4th, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Where: Bluefield College, 3000 College Ave, Bluefield, VA 24605

About: A symposium to be held on the Bluefield College campus in Bluefield, VA on Thursday, October 4 from 8am-5pm will feature regional substance abuse prevention and recovery specialists providing presentations, training opportunities and workshops of interest to the general public; professionals in human services, law enforcement, education, health care, mental health; and faith group leaders.

For more information and to register, please click HERE.

Please see symposium schedule below.

7:45 am – 8:00 am

8:00 am – 8:15 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast

Welcome – Dr. David Olive, President of Bluefield College

            Tracks 1 and 2– Full Day Workshops
8:15 am – 12:15 pm Mental Health First Aid – Youth – Room     (Jessica Hutchens)

Mental Health First Aid – Adult – Room     (Kristie Haga)

12:15 – 1 p.m. Lunch & Keynote Speaker on HIDTA –Cafeteria  (Chad Napier)

Vendor Showcase – Shott A & B

1:00 pm – 5 pm Mental Health First Aid Youth – Room   (Jessica Hutchens)
  Mental Health First Aid Adults – Room  (Kristie Haga)
           General Track—Morning Presentations
8:30 am – 9:00 am  

U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (videotape)


9:00 am – 9:45 am


9:45 am – 10:00 am

Regional Resources Overview: Linda Austin (ASAC), Sharon Kitts (SATIRA) and Sandra Tatum (Regional Warm Line)
Break, Vendor Showcase
10:00 am – 11:00 am Overview of the Opioid Crisis in Appalachia   Room (Dr. Carole Pratt)


11am – noon Energizing Appalachian Communities Using the Strategic Prevention Framework    Room      (Jamie Edwards)
12:15 – 1 p.m. Lunch & Keynote Speaker (Lt. Chad Napier with HIDTA)  Cafeteria

Vendor Showcase – Shott A & B

  General Track– Afternoon Workshops
1:15 pm – 2 pm Handle with Care for Law Enforcement   Room      (Chad Napier)
  Ministries to Inmates, Ex-offenders and Hikers (Linda Austin)
  ACEs and You       Room     (Darrell Harmon)
  Mountain Movers Faith-Based Coalition (Kevin Blankenship)
1:15-3pm Suicide Talk  Room    (Emily Ann Thompson)
2:00—2:15 Break

Vendor Showcase


2:15 pm – 3:00 pm Handle with Care for Childcare Providers/Teachers   Room   (Chad Napier)

Celebrate Recovery  Room       (T.W. Cash, Deana)

Drug Court  (Si’andra Blackwell)

Drug Monitoring Program  Room         (TBD)




 REVIVE!    Room       (Paige Lucas)

Registration is now open for the 2018 Head for the Hills CME Conference!

Catawba Rhododendron and sunset, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

  • What: Head for the Hills 2018
    • The conference is approved for 7.5 CME credits with the American Association of Family Physicians. This year focuses on Physician Wellbeing and SBIRT training in particular.
  • When: October 5-6
  • Where: Hungry Mother State Park, Marion, VA
  • Please click HERE to register

Please see the conference agenda below:

7:30 – 8:00 am BREAKFAST
8:00 – 8:55 am Strokes in the Primary Care Setting – Derek Harmon, DO, Ballad Health
9:00 – 9:55 am Mindfulness for Physician Wellness – Leah Cobb Snodgrass MD, LMU DCOM Chair and Associate Professor, Behavioral Health
10:00 – 10:15 am BREAK
10:15 – 10:40 am Tips for a better night sleep Dr. Lauren Burns PGY-3 and Chief Resident, Lonesome Pine Hospital
10:45 am – 12:30 pm Physician Wellness –Dael Waxman, MD, Vice Chair, Professional Development and Clinical Operations, Department of Family Medicine, Atrium Health
12:30 pm LUNCH
Enjoy the afternoon visiting the town or resting by the lake

Complimentary evening meal in the restaurant from GMEC menu

Marion Theatre program begins 7:30 free to HftH families (RESERVATIONS NOT REQUIRED)

7:30 – 8:00 am BREAKFAST
8:00 am SBIRT training Lyn Moore O’Connell, Ph.DIMFT
9:30 to 10:00 am Room check-out / Break
10:00 – 11:25 am SBIRT resumes
11:25 – 11:45 am Migratory Arthritis and Fever Dr. Elizabeth Dockery, PGY-3 and Chief Resident, Johnston Memorial Hospital
12:00 pm Box lunches available